Thursday, May 10, 2007

Weekday Mass

It has been quite awhile since I have made it to Providence in time to go to afternoon mass at St. Stephens.

The hassle factor is high: I have to try and convince my husband to come home early from work, then fight traffic on Rt. 10 and downtown Providence for a half an hour. Meander around the block a few times looking for parking. Avoid hitting dazed Brown students who never, it seems, were taught to look both ways before crossing a street.

Then, on a beautiful, warm, sunny day, enter into a dark church that smells of old incense and waxed floors. Sit in creaky wooden chairs. Kneel on hard vinyl cushions. Say words from an old Anglican prayerbook. (Thees and thous and holpen. Meet and right so to do.) Listen to a brief homily about a Saint I never heard of.

And yet.

And yet.

There am I, approaching the rail. Getting on my knees in front of a priest I don't know that well. Taking the wafer into my hands and lifting it to my mouth. Feeling the cold rim of a silver cup on my lips. The warmth of the red wine making it's way down. The rest of the service is almost a blur. Driving home. More traffic. More wayward students.

But also sunset. Quiet when I get home. The kids are at soccer. I sit under a huge spruce tree and watch the sun begin to set behind the bank of newly leafed silver maples. Listen to the riot of birds

and realize that I have never,

in my life

been happier.

4 comments:

Widening Circles said...

No kidding, when my daughter went to freshman orientation at Beantown University, the public safety director told us parents that one of the things the staff would teach them that week was to look both ways before crossing. But I guess that's an especially good idea in Beantown, where the streets are wide and the T adds to the complexity.

But that isn't what I really meant to focus on. I know what you mean about finding peace at midweek services, and I'm glad you have a place to go--even if it's a challenge to get there.

Rachel's Big Dunk said...

Yeah, getting there is a pain, but S. Stephens has such a sweet place in my heart. It was were I took my first communion as a Christian, went to my first Ash Wednesday, experienced my first Triduum. Made my first confession.

So even though I could more easily catch a weekday service at Grace, I still feel drawn to S. Stephens on a semi-regular basis.

That's hilarious that BU makes such a fuss about crossing the streets. I wish the folks at Brown would do that!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

What?? You don't know St. Ubaldus?? Lived in the Italian town where St. Francis met the wolf... Trivia, I know... but it's the trivia that keeps me plugging along. Someday we too may be trivia for a homily!

Shannon

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Rachel,

there are wonderful circuitous paths that got me to your blog. I'm new to blogging, and I'm a chaplain. I figured I'd see if there was anyone else out there. I came across "Contemplative Chaplain's" website and from there the list of the RevGalBlogPals which I bookmarked. Since then, I've just been poking around, enjoying the reflections and giftedness. Checking out the blogs that other people are reading is half the fun--and so I came upon your blog and found things that make me laugh and say, "See! I'm not the only one!"

peace and all good,

Shannon